In this century, it can be difficult to remember the way most Americans used to feel about communism. As I describe in my upcoming book, the campaign against communism had an enormous influence on American education, one that is hard to overemphasize. As I work this week in the abundant archives of Bob Jones University, doing research for my next book, I’ve come across reminders of the ways conservative Christians saw communism as an existential threat. This evening, I’d like to share a few snippets from just one of those historical artifacts, c. 1965.
As the comics below demonstrate, for many conservative evangelicals, this was not just a question of politics, but of religion. Communism represented an aggressive atheism, the apotheosis of perverted human pride.
Other conservatives, of course, did not worry as much about religious issues. As historian George Nash has argued, the many meanings of communism allowed conservative intellectuals to coalesce around a vibrant anti-communism. Libertarians could join with Burkeans, who could clasp hands with religious conservatives and free-market conservatives. All could agree that the fight against communism outweighed any differences they might have among themselves.